‘Bill & Ted’ Screenwriters’ Original Notes Reveal That The First Adventure Could’ve Been Much, Much Darker 😮

Bill and Ted have remained two prodigiously excellent and incongruously well-spoken adventurers for nearly thirty years which, with their access to time travel, was probably a cinch. Sunday was Keanu Reeves’ birthday – somehow John Wick is 54 – and a fan account offered a wee note in tribute speaking to the pinchable cheeks of Bill and Ted’s origins. 

Twitter being Twitter, you never know who’s going to spot your post. In this case, it was Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure co-screenwriter Ed Solomon, who replied with his original handwritten notes outlining his ideas for the movie. 

Would we have fallen in love with the two knuckleheads of Bill & Ted’s Time Van? It’s unclear (and probably best left explored in an alternate timeline). Rather than the iconic phone booth, the Wyld Stallions had initially taken a page from Back to the Future‘s Delorean and crashed around those time tubes in a tour van. Hard to imagine an air-guitar band successful enough to actually going on tour. 

Solomon & Matheson’s first pitch for the story involved Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esq. dropping into Ancient Rome and accidentally killing Ceasar, and then later (or earlier?) kidnapping San Dimas jocks and abandoning them in Ancient Egypt. Also bailed-upon was the idea of that they’d head back to the Stone Age and sharing the invention of fire to light a joint. It’s simultaneously easy and difficult to picture Wyld Stallions as stoners, but in any case the notion was dropped and a cozy PG rating ensured three decades of kids getting a modest education about world history. 

Yeah, and also, Hitler.

Wise choice. But maybe the best possible adaptation from the original pitch is the abandonment of the talking dog. Yes, it seems that Rufus, played by the legendary George Carlin, originally was gonna be a talking dog. Dogrufus. Not that there’s anything worse than Hitler, but a talking dog engineered in pathetic 80’s VFX would have been a nightmare.

The original pitch did have some familiar notes – the core concept of two eloquent slackers bouncing through time to round up historical figures to get a good grade on a history project. That pesky Hitler character got swapped, somewhat obliquely, for the somehow gentler Napoleon. 

Folks really dug the peek behind the curtain, likely jittery from the impending onset of Bill & Ted 3.

Most prodigious!

H/T: Uproxx, Twitter